Perennials, 14–55 (–70) cm tall, caespitose; rhizome short, densely branching. Cataphylls 1–2 or absent, green, stramineous or pink, ±tight, to c. 8–9 cm long, with a filiform blade to 3 mm long; basal leaves 1–3, 1.5–25 cm long. Cauline leaves 1–2, 1.5–25 cm long, terete, unitubular, perfectly septate; tip dark, blunt; auricles 0.5–3 mm long, rounded to truncate, scarious. Lower bracts leaf-like, terete, 1.8–7 cm long, shorter than the inflorescence, erect; other bracts herbaceous, lanceolate, 3–7 mm long. Inflorescence terminal panicles or racemes of 2–35 heads, 1–12 cm tall, with branches erect; heads ellipsoid to narrowly obconic, 2–8-flowered, 2–9 mm in diam. Tepals unequal, lanceolate, green to light brown, often suffused reddish; inner tepals 2.5–3.2 mm long, acuminate; outer tepals 2.3–3.1 mm long, acuminate to rarely obtuse, with 3-veined central band and distinct narrow scarious margin. Stamens 3 (or 6), not exserted; anthers 0.3–0.5 mm long; filaments c. 0.7 mm long; style 0.1–0.3 mm long; stigmas 0.9–1.2 mm long. Capsules imperfectly trilocular, narrowly ellipsoid to prismatic, acutely trigonous, ±acute below the c. 0.2 mm long rostrum, 3.2–4.8 mm long, castaneous, much exceeding perianth. Seeds narrowly ellipsoid, pale brown, 0.4–0.6 × 0.2 mm, 0.7–1.2 mm including appendages; appendages subequal, 0.1–0.3 mm long; outer seed coat c. 17–20-striate, very faintly reticulate. 2n = 80, fide Á.Löve & D.Löve, Univ. Colorado Stud. Ser. Biol., 24: 25 (1966); S.Snogerup, Bot. Not. 116: 154 (1963); N.A.Harriman & D.Redmond, Rhodora 78: 734 (1976).